Contreras and Gaviria out of Tour de San Luis
Four Etixx – Quick-Step riders hit the ground in the crash that put its mark on the stage between Renca and Juana Koslay.
Four riders nipped away inside the first kilometres, setting up what would be the day's move: Daniel Diaz (Delko-Marseille), Emiliano Ibarra (San Juan), German Tivani (Argentina National Team) and Ramiro Cabrera (Uruguay National Team). The course was excellent for the sprinters, and that's why the teams didn't allow them to get a big gap, controlling the front group all the time in anticipation of the bunch gallop in Juana Koslay, a town visited also at the previous editions. But things don't always go according to plan, and with less than 30 kilometers until the finish, a huge crash in the peloton meant that the advantage of the escapees went up again, to more than four minutes.
While the teams decided to wait for their cyclists to rejoin the pack, Cabrera lost contact with his breakaway companions, who kept pushing and entered in the final kilometer with a nice lead. There, the three Argentinians began playing cat and mouse, and German Tivani was the one who came out on top, outfoxing two-time winner of the race Daniel Diaz. Although the peloton arrived 90 seconds later, the general classification remained unchanged, with Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) in the overall lead, ahead of Movistar cyclists Dayer and Nairo Quintana.
Unfortunately, what should have been a quiet day for the Etixx – Quick-Step riders, who were all focused on delivering Fernando Gaviria to the line, turned into a string of bad luck, as Gaviria, Rodrigo Contreras, Stijn Vandenbergh and Maximiliano Richeze were involved in the crash that occurred in the last hour. All the riders finished the stage, and immediately after the arrival, Contreras was taken to the hospital for medical examinations at his right knee, which was injured after he fell on it in that incident.
The nature of this injury meant that Contreras – who was third in the general classification at the start of the day – required 15 stitches. Now, the Etixx – Quick-Step medical staff will keep him under observation and depending on how he will pass the night, will take a decision in the morning if the Colombian can start or not the penultimate day of the race. In the meantime, two other riders involved in the crash, Gaviria and Vandenbergh, went to the hospital for thorough investigation.
Stage 6 of the Tour de San Luis will be decisive for the overall standings, as it will feature Mirador del Sol at the finish, a 7 km-long climb averaging 8,7%.
©Tim De Waele